7 Tips For Looking After Houseplants When You're On Holiday & Can't Provide The Love IRL
Having plants is the millennial equivalent of having children. With rent prices getting higher and apartment sizes getting smaller, having pets let alone having children right now seems like quite an impossible task. So, queue the plant parents. Not only do plants brighten up flats with no gardens, adding a bit of a botanical aesthetic, they also give you something to care for and nurture that is a lot more financial viable than a puppy or a baby. But, when you're not around, how do your plants cope? How do you look after your houseplants when on holiday, for example? Is there a way to make sure they're all set up before you leave? I need to know.
According to iNews, plant purchases are on the rise. "In the past year, the RHS has reported a 50% rise in houseplant sales, with an 80% increase in fern sales and 150% rise in sales of the monstera — or Swiss cheese plant."
Whether you're an established plant parent or just buying your first succulent, there's nothing worse than the fear of coming back from your holiday only to see your beloved green friend dried out, wilted, and missing leaves. So here are some tips and tricks to keep your plants alive, luscious, and moisturised while you're away on holiday.
1. Invest in some mulch
Before you go away on your holiday, make sure to use some mulch. What is that you ask? It's usually made from bark or compost, and you sprinkle it over watered soil to keep in all the moisture. This is ideal if you're only away from your plant babies for a few days.
2. Find a kind friend or neighbour
Much like when you're on holiday and need someone to look after your pet, why not do the same with your plants? Ask your neighbour or a friend if they could pop in and water your plants. Or, if you only have a few small ones, perhaps you could bring them into work and ask a desk buddy to take care of them while you're away?
3. Make sure your plants have saucers
If you're only going away for a long weekend or a few days, make sure all your plants have saucers under their pots. Give everything a big water before you go away and any excess water will collect in the saucer and be reabsorbed into the soil. Note: this is not a good idea for plants who can't stand too much water, or who are prone to root rot.
4. Put your plants in the bath or sink
This nifty trick is ideal for those plants that need lots of humidity and moisture. This should keep them hydrated for up to a week. Soak some towels or newspaper in water and line them in your bath or shower, then place your plants on top of the wet towels, and there you go, moist plants!
5. Try the bottle method
This bottle method should keep your plants watered for up to a week. Fill up a wine bottle with water, or a small plastic bottle with a hole in the lid depending on the size of your plant. Hold your thumb over the top and bury the bottle upside down so the neck of the bottle is submerged into the soil and the bottle balances. The water will slowly release into the soil over the week!
6. Consider where it is positioned in the house
Temperature and light can drastically affect your plant. If you leave them in hot, bright places, for example, you might come back to dried out leaves. To avoid this, keep your plants out of direct sunlight by moving them to a cooler shadier area. This could reduce the temperature and reduce water loss by up to 80%, according to the Guardian. It should be noted, though, that how much light and warmth a plant needs varies depending on species. It's worth digging around the internet to find out the requirements for your specific plant and adjusting its position in the house in relation to that.
7. Group your plants together
Your plants work better together. One handy tip from house plant blog Invincible House Plants suggests grouping your plants in close proximity (but without their leaves touching) in a spot out of direct sunlight. Place a container of water at the centre of the plants so they can absorb water as and when they need it. The container will also ensure there's enough humidity in the room. However, as Invincible House Plants notes, "It's important to be sure that there is no water in direct contact with the soil to prevent root rot."